Responding to common questions & challenges
We're all about honest questions! Nevertheless, in order to minimize spending too much time on the air addressing repetitive, antagonistic questions, comments, and challenges, we have answered many of those types of questions here on this page.
We'd be glad to discuss these questions in more depth on an individual basis. So if your question is not answered here, not answered to your satisfaction, or if you wish to discuss something in more depth, please feel free to contact us. (While we love to discuss these matters with honest seekers, we won't devote much time to communication with people whose purpose is simply to harrass.)
1. You're just a bunch of Mormon-bashers!
"Bashing" implies that we were telling lies with the intent to harm or be cruel. We are neither telling lies, nor is our intent to do harm or be cruel. Far from it! We care deeply for the Mormon people, and it is for this reason we want to share truth with those who are living under false teachings. A truth challenge is NOT an attack.
If you dislike or disagree with something we say, then tell us why, and if you think we've said something that is untrue or misleading, we invite you to tell us specifically why it's untrue; we invite correction! (But please don't just make blanket statements like "You're wrong and you're lying" without telling us where you think we're wrong or how you think we're lying.)
If we are proven to be in error, we will happily make the correction! Our objective is to support and promote the truth, and point people to the truth of Jesus!
2. Why can't you just talk about what you believe, instead of tearing down someone else’s faith?
The objective of our program is to discuss polygamy from a biblical perspective. So we actually do talk quite a bit about "what we believe"...or more to the point, what the Bible teaches. But keep in mind, we're not just spouting our own opinions, we are discussing what the Bible actually says. The Bible becomes our standard, and that is the truth we seek to share.
As for "tearing down someone else's faith," the Bible does tell us that we need to tear down anything that sets itself against the knowledge of God (2 Corinthians 10:5). And many of the teachings of Mormonism and Mormon Fundamentalism do contradict what the Bible says, and so we must address those things. But no, our intent is not to tear anyone down. If we tear anything down, it is with the intent of building people up in truth. When dealing with matters of truth, you cannot ignore the lies that battle against it.
3. What you say on your show is just your own
interpretation of the Bible.
Don't confuse interpretation with reading. It's not such a great mystery. (Words actually do mean something!) While there are some parts of the Bible that require a more careful study and analysis to properly understand the meaning, by and large, the Bible was written to be read and understood, not "interpreted". We are often accused of having our own "interpretation" of the Bible, but in fact, our goal is simply to abide by what it actually says. So this accusation makes about as much sense as claiming that two plus two equals four is just "our interpretation" of arithmetic.
However, there are many who do misinterpret the Bible. And how do they do this? Well, they reject what it actually says--they will accept the parts they like, and reject the parts they don't. Sometimes they will say that one passage or another is in error. Or they will take a passage entirely out of its context and make it say something that it never intended to say. This is interpreation...or rather, misinterpretation.
If the Bible is really God's word, then we should expect that God intends for us to understand it, that it actually means something, that it shouldn't be so vague or inscrutable that any arbitrary so-called "interpretation" is as good as the next. What possible use would the Bible be if that were the case? But if you hear something that you think is a misinterpretation of the Bible, or a faulty understanding of it, by all means, contact us, and we can talk about it.
4. If your show is about polygamy, why do you try to bring
Mormonism into the picture?
Because Mormonism brought polygamy into the picture. That's a historical reality, and a subject we deal with quite a bit. The polygamy of Mormon fundamentalists is rooted in historic Mormonism. We recognize that the modern-day mainstream LDS Church rejects the practice of polygamy today, but polygamy is still in the doctrine of Mormonism--even mainline Mormonism.
So despite the mainstream LDS Church's stance against the practice of polygamy, polygamy is still very much a part of Mormonism's history, as well as the modern practice of many fundamentalists who call themselves "Mormon."
Polygamy was originally taught as an "everlasting covenant" and the means to the highest exaltation. When the mainstream LDS Church rejected polygamy, many people, striving to adhere to the faith delivered by Joseph Smith and Brigham Young and many others, continued to practice it, and continue to practice it to this day. It can be said that they are the true followers of Joseph Smith. If you go by the teachings of early Mormon leaders, the Mormon Fundamentalists are correct when they say that the mainstream LDS Church is in a state of apostasy.
The mainstream LDS Church has been less than honest toward the outside world, and even to their own membership, by pretending that there is little connection between Mormonism and polygamy. You may hear excuses that it was only practiced by a few select people, or that it was done to help take care of needy widows or single women. This is false. Polygamy began as a revelation by Joseph Smith, and was sustained as an eternal and everlasting doctrine and commandment of God by many subsequent LDS prophets, all of whom are revered in mainstream Mormonism.
The purpose of our television program is to share the message that, unlike what was taught by the early Mormon leaders, polygamy is NOT required for eternal life--that only faith in Jesus Christ (and nothing we can do on earth--polygamy or anything else), will ever merit eternal life for us.
5. Polygamy was taught and promoted in the Bible!
Polygamy is recorded in the Bible as a historical fact. (So was murder, rape, incest, and theft.) But it was never commanded or promoted as a means to gaining God's favor or contributing toward salvation or eternal life. And no where do you get the idea that God looks upon polygamy as a good thing. At best, he extends mercy by making an allowance for it--the same way he made an allowance for other things that he hates, like divorce.
A number of the “heroes” of the Old Testament had more than one wife. But then again, a number of the “heroes” of the Old Testament also lied, cheated, stole, and murdered. Does this mean that God commanded, or even condoned that sinful behavior too? Of course not.
The most famous cases of Old Testament polygamy come from Jacob, David, and Solomon. Abraham is often called a polygamist, but his liaison with Hagar was an act of faithlessness, not faithfulness; it happened because Abraham failed to believe God's promise that a son would be born through Sarah. It was not God's idea.
The Bible provides many clear examples of how polygamy was a curse and an ungodly burden, and not a blessing. (It is often assumed that Moses and Isaac and other prophets like Isaiah practiced polygamy, but there is absolutely no biblical support for this.)
In biblical times, polygamy was (just like today) a source of strife, friction, jealousy, and broken relationships. None of these things could ever be considered godly virtues. In many passages throughout the Old and New Testaments, God expresses a very dim view of polygamy, and upholds the ideal of a marriage between one man, and one woman.
So many ask, why would God allow these men of old to practice polygamy? Why would he bless men like Abraham, Jacob, David, and Solomon, if polygamy were so wrong? Well, God is a merciful God who loved the men of old. They placed their faith in Him, and not in their own righteousness. This does not mean that God takes a soft stand on sin; quite the contrary. But it does mean that in His mercy, he restrains himself from punishing us as our sins deserve--for a time--to give us the opportunity to repent and place our faith in Him.
(A more thorough treatment of this subject can be found in Doris Hanson's booklet, Is Polygamy Biblical? and is available free of charge to seeking Mormons or Mormon Fundamentalists. For more information on receiving a copy, click here.)
6. You preach the Bible...but it's got the same problems
as the Book of Mormon!
That's not even a little bit true. The Bible is firmly established in historical facts. The Book of Mormon has no historical basis whatsoever. Geography, language, history, genetics, anthropology, archaeology, all of these disciplines have found no shred of conclusive evidence supporting the Book of Mormon.
Now, on the flip-side, the Bible, which is the "keystone" of biblical Christianity, has an enormous amount of historical substantiation, including its fulfilled prophecies; verifiable geographical features, cities, historical events, historical figures, and so forth. Many of the Bible's historical claims are substantiated from other sources outside the Bible.
Are we Christians simply because the Bible has a strong historical foundation? No...but it would NOT be possible to be a believing Christian if the Bible were not believable! If the Bible didn't have a historical foundation, if it were shown to be false, how could we believe what it says? Even the apostle Paul says that if the resurrection of Jesus is but a myth, then our faith is in vain. So historical truth DOES matter. Faith needs to be placed in something real, not something imaginary. And truth should fear no investigation.
Likewise, if something is shown to be false, then why would anyone put any sort of trust in what it says, about historical or spiritual matters? The Book of Mormon may contain some virtuous stories and even promote some biblical values...but how can it be trusted as a source of truth if its very foundation is clearly shown to be a lie?
7. Do you believe all Mormons are going to hell?
We have neither the wisdom, power, nor authority to make a statement about the eternal destiny of any one individual, let alone an entire group of people. God alone is the judge and He will judge rightly.
Do we believe there is a hell? The Bible states this pretty clearly. Do we believe that people go to hell? Again, the Bible doesn't mince words about it. It even suggests that the road to destruction has more traffic than the road to eternal life! (Matthew 7:13-15) Jesus spoke more about hell than he did about heaven.
But the Bible also proclaims the truth about how we can receive that eternal life. And it tells us that God doesn't desire that anyone perish, but for all to have eternal life. And it is only by faith that we can be saved. Our job is to proclaim the way to salvation--which is none other than Jesus Christ, in the hope that some will turn to Jesus and receive His free gift of eternal life! (Want to learn more about His free gift? Check out this link.)
8. The Trinity makes no sense. It's not in the Bible, so why do
you cling to it?
Actually, the Trinity is in the Bible. The word "Trinity" doesn't appear as such, but the concept does. The Trinity is founded upon a faithfulness to the Bible's claims about the nature of God. The doctrine of the Trinity is nothing more and nothing less than the reconciliation of the following undeniable biblical statements:
1. There is only ONE God.
2. The Father is God.
3. Jesus is God.
4. The Holy Spirit (or Holy Ghost) is God.
However, if your idea of God is that he's a physical man with flesh and bones, and as a result has certain physical limitations, then the Trinity sounds absurd. But this is a completely unbiblical picture of God. However, if you understand that God is spirit...and not only spirit but that He is eternal, all-powerful, and ever-present, then the Trinity is not an impossible concept to grasp; it is certainly within the ability of an all-powerful God to manifest himself however he pleases, including the miracle of incarnation--Jesus coming to humanity in the flesh, as a human.
Is the Trinity a mystery? Sure it is. But it would be arrogant to presume that we, with our limited minds, could fully grasp an infinite God.
It is often asked, "Well, who was Jesus praying to, then, when he would pray? Was he just talking to himself?" No...he was doing exactly what the Bible says he was doing--praying to his Father. This is not a problem if you have a biblical understanding of who God is. God inhabited a fully human body in Jesus in order to draw people to himself. This is the essence of the Gospel, and the reason why the Trinity is so important. Christians not only love Jesus as their Savior, but they also worship him as their Lord and God--and such worship and adoration are due him!
For an expanded article on the Trinity, please click here.
9. Traditional Christianity all comes from Constantine
and the Council of Nicea.
The council of Nicea is one of the most misunderstood, and most maligned, components of Church history among Mormons. So it's important to set some things straight.
First, the Council of Nicea does not form the basis of traditional Christianity; Jesus Christ, his nature and his atoning work on the cross are what form the basis of Christianity. The Council of Nicea at best can be said to affirm this understanding, and not create it.
Some facts: The council was indeed called for by Constantine in AD 325. The purpose of this council was to address controversies surrounding unbiblical heresies that were creeping into a small handful of the Christian churches throughout the known world. These teachings were being propagated by a church leader named Arius, and what he was teaching was that Jesus was less than God, and a created being. This was hotly contested precisely because it was contrary to what the Bible says about Jesus.
Remember that a decade prior to the Council of Nicea, Christianity was a heavily persecuted religion, and such a council was only possible once the persecution stopped. So this was really the very first time that there was ever any sort of organized, formal gathering of Christian churches--ever. The remarkable thing was not the divisions, but the unity among them, despite having been effectively cut off from one another for decades and even centuries. And that is why the aberrant doctrines that were being introduced by a relatively small group of church leaders had caused such a stir, precisely because of the overwhelming doctrinal unity of the churches.
The church leaders gathered and examined the gospels and the teachings of the apostles in order to arrive at an understanding of the nature and purpose of Jesus Christ. Those gospels and apostolic teachings were the standard that they appealed to. And they concluded, based on those teachings, that Jesus is wholly and completely God, that he was not a lesser being, nor was he created. Contrary to popular belief, the term "Trinity" did not originate with Nicea; in fact, it predates Nicea by nearly a century. The "Trinity" is most often associated with Nicea because it was as a result of that Council that the term became broadly known among the churches.
10. Why do you say that nothing can be added to the Bible?
Contrary to popular belief among Mormons, the Council of Nicea had little to do with the assembly of the canon of scripture, and certainly did not "impose" any order or structure to it. By the time the Council of Nicea was called, the New Testament canon was already fairly well established, before there was even a concept of something called a "canon." Most of the church congregations, both inside and outside of Rome, had independently begun using almost all of the same writings, apart from any imposed order, that today comprise the New Testament.
So there wasn't any one singular event or action that caused the canon to be formed. The New Testament as we know it today was comprised of the four gospels and the writings of the early apostles and eyewitnesses to Jesus himself, and they were used very commonly among the early church. Remember, in the early days, there wasn't a "Bible" like we know it; it was simply a collection of writings and letters that were being commonly circulated. Over time, the writings and letters that proved to be of worth rose to prominence naturally. It's actually quite remarkable to note that many of these volumes were "organized" independently of one another, and yet generally contained the same set of writings. Christian historians believe this is simply the evidence of the Holy Spirit directing and guiding his church in a way that a man-made organization never would have been able to.
So quite some time before the Council of Nicea, the "canon" was already quite well-established, informally at least. Nicea provided little more than an affirmation, and an ordering of the books and writings that were already being used as authoritative teachings. The books that ended up being rejected by the churches (including the so-called "gnostic gospels") were rejected by the churches not because of some political conspiracy, but because they were not written by contemporaries of Jesus Christ, and more importantly, because they did not align with the teachings of Jesus and the apostles who learned directly from Jesus. And they simply weren't in common use by the churches.
So why is the Bible considered a "closed canon"? That is, why do biblical Christians say that nothing should be added to the Bible? This is not so much a doctrinal question as it is a practical one. It begs the question, "What else is needed, and why?" If the Bible's purpose is to show God's interaction with humanity and how we can be saved, then that was completely and fully accomplished in Jesus Christ, who is the final revelation to end all revelations. So to suggest that more scriptures or "modern-day revelation" (in the sense that most Mormons understand it) are needed, is to say that we were lacking something...that Jesus alone is insufficient for our salvation.
Our objection to the Mormon writings isn't simply that they claim to be new "scripture;" rather, it's that they do not conform to what God has revealed. The Book of Mormon is historically inaccurate, and thereby cannot be God's Word because God is a God of truth. The other Mormon writings and teachings are contrary to what God had already revealed in the Bible, and God does not change and go back on his word.
This does not mean that God doesn't continue to speak to His people today. God is faithful to speak to, lead, guide, and yes, even reveal things through His Spirit to all who believe in Him, even today. But he has given us the Bible as the measuring stick, the standard of doctrine, and His unchanging Truth, to which all things must be compared, and to which all teachings must conform.
11. You believe in salvation by grace alone; so basically you're saying you can pray a little prayer and then live any way you please!
Absolutely NOT. You will never find this teaching in the Bible. In fact, this is one of the most pernicious myths that is propagated among Mormons about biblical Christianity.
As followers of Jesus, we are called to live holy lives, pleasing to Him, following His example. We are called to good works. It is expected.
HOWEVER, the biblical teaching of salvation by grace alone means that it is NOT our good works or our attemps at holiness that saves us. It is the work of Jesus Christ, and his holiness that saves us.
Somebody who is truly saved has entered into a loving relationship with Jesus, and desires to please him. And that relationship with Jesus Christ changes us, from the inside. He is the one who works in us, on a daily basis, to start ridding our lives of sin, and undoing our appetite for sin. He is the one who instills in us a desire--and the ability--to do truly good works that please and glorify Him.
Christians, like everyone else on the planet, will still sin. They are still imperfect. But if their faith is true, they are also being changed--not by their own efforts and will power, but by the power of Jesus Christ in their lives. In fact, if there is no evidence of true regeneration, if there is no outpouring of the works that God expects, if a person's attitude is truly "I don't care what God thinks, I'm going to live as I please," then that is not biblical faith. That is not saving faith. That is the dead faith that is referred to in James chapter 2.
But make no mistake: salvation comes through faith alone in Jesus Christ, and it is that salvation that enables us to do good works and live holy lives. It is NOT our ability to do good works or live holy lives that enables us to be saved.
If you're frustrated in your attempts to be as righteous as you know you ought to be, this is because you can't do it. Sure, maybe you can do things to look good to those around you, and fool others (and perhaps even fool yourself) into believing that you're righteous, but it's Jesus alone that knows our hearts, which is where the real root problem is. And he alone can solve that problem. And the good news is--he will, if you'll let him!
12. What about all those different "Christian" churches out
there...how can you know which one is the right one?
This represents another of the common mistruths that are propagated among Mormons about biblical Christianity--the belief that all the different churches and denominations that call themselves "Christian" all disagree and don't get along, and all have different doctrines and different interpretations of the Bible. This simply isn't true.
Are there differences? Of course. Churches differ in personality and practices, they differ in organizational structure, they differ in worship styles. They even differ on emphasizing some things, and on secondary issues. They have different "cultures" and yes, have been known to get into petty squabbles and disagreements with one another. (But good grief, you even will find this even within a family of people that love one another.)
But churches that are truly biblically-based are united in the key doctrines of salvation, and can call one another "brothers and sisters in Christ," because they are united in those key doctrines of eternal life. In fact, any church organization that claims to be the one and only true church by definition CANNOT be, because it disregards what the Bible says about what makes a church "true."
Yes, there is "One True Church" and it's called the Body of Christ. But it is not an earthly organization. It is the collection of all people, from anywhere in the world, and from any church or denomination (or perhaps from no church organization at all), who have placed their lives and faith in Jesus Christ alone, and who trust in Him alone for their eternal salvation. That is the biblical definition of the true Church. This church is not seen, directed, proscribed, or defined by any man or any organization. There is no earthly corporation that oversees it. There is no exclusive prophet or mouthpiece of God, except God himself in Jesus Christ, and His revelation through His Word. Jesus is the head of the church, and He alone can rightly judge, and fully recognize all who belong to Him.
Becoming part of this unseen Church does not require laws and rites and ordinances or certifications or interviews or membership records. It requires nothing more than placing your life in Jesus' hands, placing your faith in His righteousness, and trusting in Him alone for eternal life.
If you have done that, then you can be assured that you belong to His church. If you haven't done it, we encourage you to do that right now! (Please contact us if you want to discuss this further.)